A New York Times bestseller
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Author: Jojo Moyes
Format: Trade Paperback
Part of a Series: Yes. Me Before You #1.
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books
No. of Pages: 369 pages
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Adult, Realistic Fiction
The Cover: The cover features a bright, lavish shade of red for a background, and the title written in a luxurious font style. Simple, I know, but this cover attracted me way too many times. It gave no clue as to what the book was about, I know, but I absolutely love the simplicity of this cover. I would’ve appreciated it, though, if my copy didn’t have that absent inch on the right side, but hey! I’ll take what I can get. (4 out of 5 stars)
The Story: The story was about the life of small-town girl Louisa Clark who just recently lost her job, and in order to fend for her family, must accept a job which she didn’t like. She soon meets Will Traynor, an ex-financial whiz kid, a former business tycoon who suffered a permanent spinal injury who she must take care of 24/7. After having spent time with Will, Lou realizes that she’s willing to give anything to this man who might not take what she’s willing to give. (This book is seriously heartbreaking, you guys!) Below are some good points about this book:
- Lou’s parents: Josie and Bernard Clark, remind me so much about Rebecca Bloomwood’s (The female protagonist from Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Series) parents. They were thrifty, and they had a knack for all things cheap. Lou’s parents, however, weren’t thrifty. They were borderline poor, and they can’t fend for themselves. The same goes for Katrina, Lou’s sister, living our protagonist the family’s only hope for survival. This made me think about how Louisa is such an industrious and loving sister, and daughter. It kinda makes me wish that I was more like her.
- Jojo Moyes gave us different perspectives other than Louisa’s. She sneaked in a chapter from Will’s mom Camilla, a chapter from his medical assistant Nathan, and a chapter from Louisa’s sister, Katrina. I found it quite refreshing that I didn’t only read about Louisa. However, I found it unfair that I never got the chance to read from Will’s perspective. I was excited to have read from his point of view, but, sadly, it didn’t came to be. He was more often than not, the conflict of the story, thus, making me want to read from his POV, but it was nowhere to be found.
- Louisa’s character development was tremendously good! At first, she was this passive, nonchalant girl, who had no care in the world. She was so in love with the idea of staying at one place, working at one place, for her entire life. She was okay with settling. Until she met Will Traynor. After getting hired, Lou starts to develop into a very sophisticated young woman, developing a taste for the things that would make not only her life a little more comfortable, but her family’s as well. All throughout the book, she turned into a woman that every girl would want to be when they gre up. I had fun watching her grow.
- Patrick wasn’t a good boyfriend. He really isn’t. If I wasn’t reading about him and his triathlons, I was somewhere reading a chapter, loathing him to bits. He wasn’t supportive. He wasn’t understanding. And there was this one chapter where he said sorry for not being all these things and everything came crashing down as he got jealous all too quickly, making that scene one of my absolutely least favorite in this great book. Jojo Moyes did a great job making a jerk out of him. It was a pleasure getting hooked up to all the characters.
- I absolutely loved the scene where Lou, Will, and Nathan, goes to a trip of a lifetime, in Lou’s efforts to try and change Will’s decision to *SPOILER ALERT* kill himself. That scene was very reminiscent of Hazel and Augustus’ trip to Amsterdam, although it was in a different type of situation.
- I loved how this book showcased the importance of having to decide and fend for one’s self in order to get through life. The reason as to why Will didn’t want to live anymore is his lack of independence after his accident. He felt miserable having caregivers feed him, bathe him, and change his clothes, when before his accident he was a man of extravagance and adventure. It showed the readers a true dilemma nowadays. That people who were completely disabled choose not to live because they feel deprived of their options. This is a horrifyingly realistic point, but sadly, it is what defined Will in the end.
All in all, the story was fantastic. There were parts of the story where it felt like I was once again reading Hazel and Augustus’ love story and parts where I felt like I was reading from the Confessions of a Shopaholic, and I love how it really felt reminiscent of other works. It was an absolutely heartbreaking story. (5 out of 5 stars)
The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* After Will’s imminent death, Louisa moved on with her life. She then went to Paris, spent an afternoon at Cafe Marquis, Rue de Francs Bourgeois, where she read Will’s letter for him (which I decided to share with you all down below at the quotes section). This may be one of the most heartbreaking letters I have ever read. In the letter, Will proved to be one of the sweetest male protagonists I have ever come to read about. Until his last moment, he kept thinking about Louisa’s future. He entitled some of his properties to her (5 out of 5 stars)
The Verdict: Just like what the blurb on the back of this book says, Me Before You is indeed a heartbreaking story of a man and a woman, of different tastes and preferences, who lived two different lifestyles, who soon discovers how it is to lose, to love, and to get their hearts broken. It’s a great read for those who wan to re-live Hazel and Gus’s great Amsterdam trip. Seriously! And on it’s own, it’s a great tear-jerker. Believe me. (5 out of 5 stars)
A few weeks will have passed by the time you read this (even given your newfound organizational skills, I doubt you will have made it to Paris before early September). I hope the coffee is good and strong and the croissants fresh and that the weather is still sunny enough to sit outside on one of those metallic chairs that never sit quite level on the pavement. It’s not bad, the Marquis. The steak is also good, if you fancy coming back for lunch. And if you look down the road to your left you will hopefully see L’Artisan Parfumeur where, after you read this, you should go and try the scent called something like Papillons Extrême (can’t quite remember). I always did think it would smell great on you.
Okay, instructions over. There are a few things I wanted to say and would have told you in person, but a) you would have got all emotional and b) you wouldn’t have let me say all this out loud. You always did talk too much.
So here it is: the cheque you got in the initial envelope from Michael Lawler was not the full amount, but just a small gift, to help you through your first weeks of unemployment, and to get you to Paris.
When you get back to England, take this letter to Michael in his London office and he will give you the relevant documents so you can access an account he has set up for me in your name. This account contains enough for you to buy somewhere nice to live and to pay for your degree course and your living expenses while you are in full-time education.
My parents will have been told all about it. I hope that this, and Michael Lawler’s legal work, will ensure there is as little fuss as possible.
Clark, I can practically hear you starting to hyperventilate from here. Don’t start panicking, or trying to give it away – it’s not enough for you to sit on your arse for the rest of your life. But it should buy you your freedom, both from that claustrophobic little town we both call home, and from the kind of choices you have so far felt you had to make.
I’m not giving the money to you because I want you to feel wistful, or indebted to me, or to feel that it’s some kind of bloody memorial.
I’m giving you this because there is not much that makes me happy any more, but you do.
I am conscious that knowing me has caused you pain, and grief, and I hope that one day when you are less angry with me and less upset you will see not just that I could only have done the thing that I did, but also that this will help you live a really good life, a better life, than if you hadn’t met me.
You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. It always does feel strange to be knocked out of your comfort zone. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Your face when you came back from diving that time told me everything; there is a hunger in you, Clark. A fearlessness. You just buried it, like most people do.
I’m not really telling you to jump off tall buildings, or swim with whales or anything (although I would secretly love to think you were), but to live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Wear those stripy legs with pride. And if you insist on settling down with some ridiculous bloke, make sure some of this is squirrelled away somewhere. Knowing you still have possibilities is a luxury. Knowing I might have given them to you has alleviated something for me.
So this is it. You are scored on my heart, Clark. You were from the first day you walked in, with your ridiculous clothes and your bad jokes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt. You changed my life so much more than this money will ever change yours.
Don’t think of me too often. I don’t want to think of you getting all maudlin. Just live well.
(Now, excuse me while I bawl my eyes out…)